This drunken red wine risotto is made for cold winter nights that require a bowl of something warm to cozy up to. Filled with roasted cauliflower and mounds of goat cheese, there’s a whole lot of good in every bite.
A new season of Top Chef is starting up again and that always gets me thinking about risotto.
I’m sure Padma and Tom would roll their eyes at my technique, which advocates for “frequent” rather than “constant” stirring.
But guys, this is real life.
With a child. And the internet. And facebook. And distractions!
And things that just don’t permit us to stand in front of our stove for thirty minutes.
Truth be told, pre-pregnancy I used to be a real believer in the constant stirring. If asked, I would have sworn that I could taste the difference between a vigorously worked out risotto and one that barely broke a sweat.
Then I had to spend the last eight weeks of Remy’s gestation on my surgery rotation, standing in an operating room for 4 hours straight on a daily basis, during which time I refused to do any activity outside of work that forced me to be upright for more than 5 minutes at a time. Of course, this also happened to fall directly into the middle of a season of Top Chef, so I had risotto on the brain.
Suffice it to say, I quickly learned that to an untrained (possibly heathen) palate, frequently stirred risotto tastes just as melt-in-your-mouth good as constantly stirred risotto. Especially after you mix half a pound of cheese into it.
Risotto is almost always made with a touch of white wine mixed into it but, because I’m a rebel (see above), I decided to pop open a bottle of red midday and stir it into my simmering rice instead. The red just feels like it goes better with the season and who I am to argue with that?
Also stirred into this risotto are roasted cauliflower and a red wine-infused hard goat cheese that I found on sale at the Whole Foods cheese counter.
However, if you don’t come across such a cheese in your grocery store travels, any hard (or soft) goat cheese will do just fine.
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 head cauliflower, stems removed and cut into bite-sized florets
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup red wine (I used malbec)
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth
- ½ lb hard goat cheese, grated
- Heat oven to 450.
- In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp of olive oil and salt and black pepper, to taste. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and roasted for 15-20 minutes or until caramelized and tender.
- Meanwhile, start the risotto. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion to the pot and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the rice. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until toasted, stirring constantly. Stir in the red wine. Allow to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the wine has evaporated.
- Stir in the vegetable broth in 1 cup increments, stirring frequently, only adding another cup of broth when the previous cup has evaporated. Continued to do this until the rice is tender. Once rice is done, stir in the cauilflower and grated goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm.